Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Court finds sanctions valid in Central Valley School Board recall petition

The man who filed recalls on three Central Valley school board members in 2021 was denied appeal on his sanctions this week.

Spokane Valley’s Rob Linebarger filed a petition to recall then- school board members Keith Clark and Debra Long and current member Cindy McMullen in 2021. He alleged that the members “committed acts of misfeasance, specifically misuse of power and wrongful use of lawful authority in the exercise of their office,” for their compliance with Washington’s COVID-19 mask and vaccine recommendations.

In June of last year, Linebarger was sanctioned $22,500 for the recall attempt, determined to be “improper” and bullying in nature, according to court documents.

The sanction was an unusually high amount, intended to “deter Linebarger from improper filings,” according to court documents. While initially a grand total of $30,000 was to be paid by Linebarger and his two former attorneys , the two attorneys entered a settlement with the board members that had them pay $1,000 and $6,500 of the total sanction.

It was after this apportionment that Linebarger filed an appeal on his sanction last year, citing that the court had erred in finding no constitutional right to recall, erred in finding his argument to be in bad faith, and abused its discretion in imposing and apportioning sanctions.

Only the argument that the court had abused its discretion in apportioning sanctions was considered in court due to the tardiness of his appeal. The appeal was denied on Tuesday, with court documents stating that the court was not persuaded by his argument that the attorneys deserved to bear more of the sanction.

Clark and Long lost their re-elections in 2023.